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The Apple Ad Effect: How a Promo Appearance Affects App Sales

Ever wonder how being included in one of Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone and App Store ads affects sales? Positively, would be my uninformed guess. And it looks like, in this case at least, my gut feeling is an accurate reflection of reality. A recent blog post by Michael D. Jensen, developer of Analytics App for the iPhone/iPod Touch, reveals specific details behind a sales spike following his app’s appearance in an Apple print ad.


Analytics App, which provides on-the-go access to all of your Google Analytics data via your iPhone or iPod Touch, was recently featured in an ad for Fortune magazine with the tagline “Helping you run your small business, one app at a time.” In total, the ad featured 12 third-party apps (a full page), showing each on the springboard linked to a brief description. For Analytics App, the caption reads: “Want to see how your web site’s performing? Analytics App shows you your site’s unique visitors, page views and other statistics using a series of customizable reports.” The same ad appeared in the Wall Street Journal more recently, and the Analytics App icon showed up in Apple’s “Thanks a billion” celebration ad on the WSJ’s web site, among others.

Image courtesy of Michael D. Jensen

Jensen took a look at his sales figures to work out the effect of the print ad on his revenue. He found that in the week following the appearance of the initial print ad, sales of his app rose an impressive 53 percent over previous weeks. That’s a nice spike, considering the advertising is free (unless you count Apple’s 30 percent cut on every app sold). As Jensen points out, he definitely gets better media presence via Apple than he could ever hope to fund on his own.

Way back in February, Hit Tennis developer Mark Johnson noted a similar spike following the appearance of his app in an iPod Touch TV advertisement. His sales improved a whopping 500 percent, but then dipped back down steadily. It makes sense that TV would have a more significant effect on sales, thanks to its much wider reach.

So, not surprisingly, being backed by Apple publicly lends you some serious street cred. The stat to watch is how it affects sales over the long haul. I’m willing to bet the halo effect is a lot more shortlived than some might expect, and is probably directly tied to the run lifetime of the ad itself.

8 Responses to “The Apple Ad Effect: How a Promo Appearance Affects App Sales”

  1. That’s good to know, neither of my apps have been featured yet, but I’m hoping someday they will. I’ve worked too hard on them to not get noticed. Although, I do enjoy developing on this platform, it’s incredible – so even if I don’t get noticed – all’s not lost!

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